disturbing the dust


“Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.”                             – excerpt from burnt norton, t. s. eliot

starting a new week with day 1: your blog name.

well t. s. eliot is not my favorite poet, but he did write my favorite poem. that poem is, coincidentally, Not burnt norton, nor the 4 quartets of which burnt norton is the first. it is the lovesong of j. alfred prufrock, which i first read in high school when i was studying literary arts. i even memorized a significant portion of the poem for a class assignment. it was the first poem that spoke to me in a deeper way, and further made me despair that i would never be a poet, since thomas wrote the lovesong with seeming wisdom far beyond his years when he was 22. i’m now 10 years beyond that and haven’t even approached conceiving of something like that poem. alas.

but, when it came to naming my blog (and also my instagram that i created only a week or so before the blog), i wanted to think of something “deep and brooding” to characterize what i hoped would become a creative outlet separate from the usual superficial facebook banter and recitation of meaningful quotes. this phrase quickly came to mind. to me, it speaks of a figurative place where things are fine and lovely as they are, without need or purpose for interrogation. what has been and what might have been, what will be and what might be, all of it comes to this point. the present moment. so what is the purpose of wondering the answers to those questions that exist beyond the gate, all of time outside of this moment, or even asking in the first place.

in the past i have been accused, probably accurately, of over-analysis. my therapist several years ago said that i would do well in some situations to simply, let it be. she’s probably right. there are many things i can work on about myself, of that there is no doubt. But. while blowing the dust off the rose-leaves might make me cough and sneeze and my eyes itch and water, it leaves the petals bare and ready for whatever comes next. there will always be more dust. absolutely, a dusty bowl of rose-leaves is a vision in itself. that memory of the person you were at the time you were her, frozen in a polaroid and marked with the date in a handwriting that used to be yours… on the surface without anything added, it is objectively beautiful. but what makes it beautiful And meaningful? subjective reflection. the present moment calls on all moments that have been and that are yet to be. one would do well to respect some limits, that is true. but, against professional recommendations, i think i’ll go ahead… and disturb the dust 🙂


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